AFTER the messy break-up of dream pop stars the Cocteau Twins, Simon Raymonde had had enough of South West London.

“Eventually my marriage went bust,” he said.

“When the kids left, I decided to move back into inner London.

“I had this great plan of setting up in Shoreditch.”

But after renting a flat in Hackney, Simon decided to rid himself of the capital altogether.

“I had this horrible landlord who was a real crook,” the 57-year-old said.

“I’d go to park and would be confronted by crazy drunks and dogs wanting a fight. It was rough.

“Eventually I was given three days to move out.”

So Lewisham-born Simon got on a train to Brighton, where he used to take his children.

He said: “I ended up walking to Hove Lawns and went to an estate agent near there.

“I stayed in a hotel for a few days and then I moved in.

“I went to London two weeks after I moved to Brighton and when I got off at Victoria it was like the Walking Dead.

“Everyone was just shuffling around, it was lifeless.”

Now living in Saltdean with partner Abbey, Simon is the owner of record label Bella Union, set up month before the Cocteau Twins’ demise.

Now the company’s line-up boasts stars such as Beach House and Father John Misty, as well as a tiny record shop in Ship Street Gardens.

And Simon’s transition from pop star to friendly vinyl shop owner has been smooth.

“It’s so small, you walk in there and you’re literally faced with the counter, you’re right in the middle of it,” he said.

“Usually customers are a bit shy and they try and go downstairs, not realising it’s the stockroom.

“I just say ‘there’s nothing down there’ and try and make conversation, give them a coffee and stuff like that.”

The city’s vinyl revival has also boosted business, though Simon has differing opinions.

He said: “It’s nice to see so many younger people getting into vinyl, but I think there are some issues.

“It’s nice to see the gender balance though, you see so many young women in record shops now.

“When shops like Sainsbury’s start stacking vinyl, it’s always going to exaggerate the figures.”

But he also balances his shop responsibilities with managing Bella Union’s talent.

“I think we’re at the point where we wouldn’t go anywhere near anyone who would be hard work because we have put so much into this label,” he said.

“As the Cocteau Twins we were a right pain in the a**e.

“But when things go well you don’t really learn.

“There was relationship trouble, drug trouble, signing contracts which you’ll never earn any money from, we made every mistake you could make. I would definitely be a worse manager if I hadn't done what I did as a musician.”

But Simon does see himself and his band in the talent he manages.

He said: “When I watch Beach House and when I talk to them and see how their fans react to them, it’s like they’re a 21st century Cocteau Twins.

“I find it a really challenging experience watching them.

“When I see them I don’t say ‘yes, it’s Beach House’, I think ‘this is going to be an emotional ride’.

“I just get upset.”

It is clear Saltdean is where Simon feels truly at home.

“It’s so peaceful here.”